Vermonters mark 50 years since the March on Washington - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Vermonters mark 50 years since the March on Washington

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BURLINGTON, Vt. -

On August 28, 1963, huge crowds headed for the Lincoln Memorial for the March on Washington, where Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his iconic "I Have a Dream Speech."

"I strapped a 2-month-old on my back and got into a crowd of 250,000 people," Vermonter Kimberley Cheney recalled.

Cheney was in D.C. for what some say was a defining moment in the civil rights movement.

"It's stuck with me for 50 years as one of the great experiences off my life," Cheney said.

Five decades later the March and man behind the movement are being remembered. At 3 p.m. Wednesday, bells rang across the country, including at Burlington City Hall, to mark the moment in history.

"It's important to keep the dream alive. It's important to remind ourselves of the powerful words Dr. King had spoken," said Patrick Brown of the Greater Burlington Multicultural Resource Center.

For young people like Eva Edwards-Stoll, the event allowed her to learn more about MLK.

"I know that he was a black man that fought for equality for people who were black and others," said Edwards-Stoll, a Burlington student.

Edmunds Elementary School Principal Michelle Mathias was pleased to see students turn out for the ceremony and says it's a sign that King's mission is moving forward.

"It means that some of the work that we are doing is actually having an effect and the work that their parents are doing with them is having an effect in terms of really understanding who Dr. King is and what the message he gave us was all about," Mathias said.

Still, while many agree progress has been made in the push toward equality, they also argue there's more work to do, and Edwards-Stoll has little patience for those not willing to help.

"I don't think that that is OK and that's my belief. And if people want to say no, then it's your loss. Go ahead and be racist," she said.

Bold words from a young person moved by events 50 years ago.

Wednesday afternoon, Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger issued a proclamation declaring it "I Have a Dream" Day in the city.

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